Some 40 per cent of US users deploying Linux do so because they believe it is more reliable than either Unix or Windows NT compared with 13 per cent who implement it because of pricing issues.
And despite the myth that the open source operating system (OS) is mainly sold into small companies, it is currently deployed in 21.6 per cent of all medium sized US based companies and 30.5 per cent of large ones - although many senior executives may not necessarily be aware that they have it installed in their organisations.
Michelle Bailey, IDC's research manager for commercial systems and servers, said at the market research firm's Systems Market Outlook conference in Redwood City this week: "Linux far outscales NT and does just as well as Unix in issues such as reliability and performance, so there are compelling reasons to buy it. There's a belief that it's only sold into niche markets and for niche applications, but that's not true. It's sold across the broad industry, especially into corporate IT departments and education."
She added that its primary function in the US was as a Web server, with 42.1 per cent of customers deploying it for that purpose, while another 26 per cent used it as a file and print server and another 23.2 per cent operated it as an email server.
"The ability to host applications such as file and print and systems management will enable Linux to compete against NT and Unix and it will shake up not just the entry level server market, but also the network vendors. In 1998, Linux held 3.9 per cent of the overall server market, including white and self built boxes, but this is expected to grow to 8.7 per cent by 2003," she continued.
She added: "NT's strength is in the collaborative sector with products such as Exchange and groupware, while Unix is very strong in application development. Linux is used mainly as an applications server rather than for application development, but while Unix and NT still need to grow into the Internet, Linux's growth in tied to the Internet."
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